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Lawmakers propose renewing Pennsylvania disaster declaration for storm damage

(Christen Smith – The Center Square) – Two Republican lawmakers introduced a resolution Wednesday that renews the statewide disaster declaration in Pennsylvania after touring neighborhoods hard hit by the remnants of Hurricane Ida earlier this month. Reps. Shelby Labs, R-Doylestown, and Todd Stephens, R-North Wales, acknowledged it will take well beyond the initial 21-day declaration …

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Lawsuit filed against Pennsylvania school mask mandate

(By Christen Smith – The Center Square) – Less than a week after the Department of Health ordered universal masking in Pennsylvania schools, Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration faces its first legal challenge on what many critics consider a shameful last-minute policy reversal. Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Bellefonte, leads a group of parents and …

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Bipartisan election reform bill brewing in Pennsylvania Senate

(By Christen Smith – The Center Square) – A second election reform bill appears likely in Pennsylvania this year. The chairs of the State Government Committee began circulating a cosponsorship memo earlier this month for their joint plan, which allows for a three day pre-canvassing rule, continuous video surveillance of ballot drop boxes, tightened application deadlines …

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Most Pennsylvania counties shrank, Census data finds

(By Kristen Smith – The Center Square) – Most of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties saw population declines over the past decade, with a few exceptions near Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The news comes from the latest U.S. Census data released Thursday, which reported Pennsylvania’s total residents exceeded 13 million in 2020, leaping over Illinois to become the fifth …

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Pennsylvania hospitality trade group sponsors vaccine clinics

(By Christen Smith | The Center Square) – As the COVID-19 delta variant spikes cases nationwide, one Pennsylvania hospitality trade group signed onto the immunization effort as the state trails its 70% statewide goal. “Remember the shutdowns, the massive layoffs, and business closures? The hospitality industry is starting a slow recovery process and PA Restaurant …

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Pennsylvania activists protest Biden’s ‘wasteful’ infrastructure plan as he rallies across the street

(By Christen Smith | The Center Square) – Activists with Americans for Prosperity stood across the street from the Macks Trucks plant in Lehigh County where President Joe Biden stumped his multi-trillion infrastructure proposal on Wednesday to protest the “wasteful” spending it contains. “When most folks think of AFP and our activists, they think of …

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Scranton mayor presses Congress to naturalize undocumented immigrants through budget reconciliation

(By Christen Smith | The Center Square) – Scranton Mayor Paige Cognetti said this week Congress should use budget reconciliation to naturalize millions of undocumented immigrants as recognition for their sacrifices during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We already needed to deliver pathways to citizenship as nation, even before the pandemic,” she said during a call with …

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Study: Public employees make up 11.7% of the Pennsylvania workforce, 2nd lowest in U.S.

(By The Center Square) The share of the Pennsylvania workforce employed by local, state or federal governments was 11.7 percent prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the second lowest percentage among the 50 states, according to a new study from the website 24/7 Wall St. The public-sector workers in Pennsylvania numbered 622,046, based on 2019 data compiled …

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Pennsylvania raises medical assistance income cap

(By Christen Smith | The Center Square) – Workers with disabilities in Pennsylvania can now earn up to $61,000 annually before losing access to some of their medical assistance benefits. Act 69 became law on July 1 and nearly doubles the $32,000 income cap for the program in an attempt to address widespread unemployment and underemployment …

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Over Republican objections, key panel endorses Pennsylvania’s entry into carbon reduction program

(By Christen Smith | The Center Square) – A key panel endorsed Pennsylvania’s entry into a carbon emissions reduction program scheduled for early next year, brushing aside concerns from Republican lawmakers that the move would accomplish little other than hurting the state’s economy. The Environmental Quality Board voted 15-4 on Tuesday to adopt the Department …

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Republicans in Pennsylvania will crowdsource new congressional map drawings

(By Christen Smith | The Center Square) – Republican lawmakers said Monday they will crowdsource opinions about how best to redraw Pennsylvania’s congressional district map this fall. House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, R-Bellefonte, told reporters at a news conference in Bucks County that redistricting is “one of the most important processes the legislature will undertake” …

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Forensic election audit initiated in Pennsylvania; AG vows to strike back

(By Christen Smith | The Center Square) – A Republican senator in Pennsylvania initiated the first steps this week of a forensic election audit, even as the state’s top law enforcement official promised intervention should the effort continue. Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Gettysburg, said in an editorial Wednesday he’s requested information and materials from three counties needed for …

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Senate approves Pittman’s bills to modernize legislation for physician assistants working in Pennsylvania

(By Natalie Kapustik | The Center Square) – State Sen. Joe Pittman has introduced legislation to support the work and practice of physician assistants in Pennsylvania. Senate Bill 397 amends the Osteopathic Medical Practice Act and Senate Bill 398 amends the Medical Practice Act of 1985. He said modernizing these bills will encourage more physician …

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May unemployment rate in Pennsylvania dips to 6.9%

(By Christen Smith | The Center Square) – Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.9% in May, according to the Department of Labor and Industry.  The state released the updated data Friday. It showed Pennsylvania’s jobless numbers still outpace the national unemployment rate of 5.8%.  Total nonfarm jobs increased by 18,500 month over month, while the …

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Legislation to create Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program advances in Pennsylvania Senate

(By Natalie Kapustik | The Center Square) – Legislation sponsored by Pennsylvania state Sen. Gene Yaw to create an Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program was unanimously approved recently by the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. Senate Bill 465 would provide additional technical support to expand on-farm conservation practices throughout Pennsylvania. Farmers and landowners would partner …

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Lawmakers renew effort to halt carbon emissions caps in Pennsylvania

(By Christen Smith | The Center Square) – A Pennsylvania House committee approved a bill Tuesday that would interrupt the state’s plan to limit carbon emissions from Pennsylvania’s power sector starting early next year. This, after Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed an identical measure in September that would have halted the Department of Environmental Protection’s regulatory …

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Bill to create grant program to revitalize hospitality and tourism industry

(By Natalie Kapustik | The Center Square) – A group of Pennsylvania lawmakers have partnered with the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association to introduce legislation that would create a grant program for hospitality and tourism businesses struggling to recover from COVID-19 shutdown orders. House Bill 1487 is sponsored by Reps. Todd Polinchock, KC Tomlinson, Meghan …

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Pesticide spraying in Pennsylvania aims to slow spread of invasive spotted lanternfly

(By Natalie Kapustik | The Center Square contributor) – The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has begun to spray insecticide to prevent the spread of the invasive spotted lanternfly, which primarily attaches to vehicles and trains to spread across the country. The aggressive treatment is funded through the Rapid Response Disaster Readiness line of Gov. Tom …

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Pennsylvania’s budget battle takes shape

(By Christen Smith | The Center Square) – It’s budget season in Pennsylvania and lawmakers have just 30 days until the state’s newest spending plan comes due. This year’s challenge, however, comes not from a lack of funds, but rather how the General Assembly will spend the $7.3 billion in federal economic stimulus it received …

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New lobbying rules proposed in Pennsylvania

(By Christen Smith | The Center Square) – House Republicans unveiled nearly a dozen bills on Wednesday aimed at reforming Pennsylvania’s lobbying rules. Speaker Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, said it’s the second major update to the Lobbyist Disclosure Act he’s proposed in 15 years, though he admits the announcement comes just days before the Legislature’s busiest …

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Lawmakers attempt edit of Pennsylvania’s disaster declaration

(By Christen Smith | The Center Square) – State lawmakers moved a resolution Tuesday that would edit Pennsylvania’s existing disaster declaration to prevent business closures and stay-at-home orders should COVID-19 cases rise again. House Resolution 106 advanced out of the State Government Committee on a party-line vote after Democrats criticized the move as premature and …

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Voters approve ballot questions limiting Pennsylvania governor’s emergency powers

(By Christen Smith | The Center Square) – Unofficial election returns show that nearly 54% of voters in Pennsylvania support constitutional amendments that limit the governor’s emergency powers. Some 1.9 million ballots have been counted, according to the Department of State, as of Wednesday morning. The official tally likely won’t come until next week as …

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Pennsylvania lawmakers consider preempting local utility ordinances

(Christen Smith: The Center Square) – Some Pennsylvania lawmakers said Tuesday the state should advance legislation that prevents local officials from enacting policies that limit energy choices. Sen. Gene Yaw, R-Williamsport, said he sponsored Senate Bill 275 in response to a growing national trend of local officials discriminating against utility connections based on the source …

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Lawmakers Eye Work Search Requirements, Loosened Regulations in Pennsylvania’s Economic Recovery

(The Center Square) – Pennsylvania House lawmakers support reinstating work search requirements for unemployment claimants and said loosened regulations will bolster the state’s economic recovery. The Department of Labor & Industry said, however, that the manpower shortage businesses face is not a result of suspended work search requirements or the $300 weekly jobless benefit enhancement …

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Takeout Cocktails on Permanent Track in Pennsylvania

(The Center Square) – The same day public health officials announced an easing of the last COVID-19 restrictions, state lawmakers moved a bill that would make at least one pandemic rule permanent: takeout cocktails. The House Liquor Control Committee voted unanimously Tuesday to advance a proposal that would allow bars and restaurants to sell as much as …

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Philadelphia Union Sued for Planned Strike

(The Center Square) – A Philadelphia union faces legal action after a New Jersey-based food distributor claims an impending strike violates its collective bargaining agreement. J. Ambrosi Food Distribution filed a complaint in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania last week alleging that officials from Teamsters Local 929 harassed its workers and threatened their jobs if they refused …

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Pennsylvania Bill Would Help Farmers Adopt Conservation-Friendly Practices, Improve Watersheds

(The Center Square) – A proposed program designed to bring conservation-friendly financial resources to farmers across Pennsylvania could come to fruition if recently introduced legislation is enacted. State Sen. Gene Yaw, R-Bradford, is the primary sponsor of Senate Bill 465, which calls for the creation of an agricultural conservation assistance program. The legislation currently is in …

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PennDOT Says Proposed Interstate Bridge Tolls ‘Not Permanent’

(The Center Square) – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said last week proposed tolls for nine interstate bridges won’t be permanent. PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian told the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday that the tolls will remain in effect for the length of the contract the state enters into with the private developer responsible for …

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No Vaccine Passports for Pennsylvania, Health Officials Say

(The Center Square) – Public health officials in Pennsylvania are saying they will not follow in New York’s footsteps and adopt vaccine passports. Rather, acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said during a Senate Appropriations Committee meeting Thursday that the state’s COVID-19 Vaccination Task Force sees easing hesitancy as its most urgent priority. “Really, what …

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Lawmakers Block Governor’s Pick For Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission Over RGGI

(The Center Square) – Republican senators issued Gov. Tom Wolf an ultimatum on Thursday in yet another effort to derail the state’s entry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.  In a letter to Wolf signed by 27 members of the Senate Republican Caucus and Sen. John Yudichak, I-Luzurne, the lawmakers said they would not confirm his nominee …

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Pennsylvania AG Officials Launch Grant Program to Help Farmers With Projects

(The Center Square) – The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has launched a new grant program aiming to help the state’s farmers with a variety of projects. “Pennsylvania’s more than 53,000 farms are the backbone of our reliable food system,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “They are the heart of Pennsylvania, just like this $1 million …

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Despite Mass Cancellations This Past Year, Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex ‘Doing OK,’ Ag Secretary Says

(The Center Square) – While the revenue-generating events schedule within the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center was nixed this past year, the Harrisburg-based venue remains on a solid financial footing, a state official reported recently. The vitality of the 24-acre complex, long viewed as a sign of Pennsylvania’s largest industry, has come into …

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Pennsylvania Treasurer Asks For $3 Million Budget Increase

(The Center Square) – Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity said Tuesday her office needs a $3 million budget increase to hire more staff, replace equipment and bolster its fraud protection services after a taxing year under pandemic conditions. “I’m a committed fiscal conservative and am dedicated to frugality and the wise use of taxpayer dollars,” she said during …

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Pennsylvania Completes Teacher Vaccination Effort

(The Center Square) – Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said Friday marks the end of a three-week campaign to vaccinate school workers across the state. As of April 2, the administration said more than 112,500 educators and support staff received the one-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. The state estimated about 200,000 residents were eligible under …

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Tax Group Says Biden’s $2 Trillion Infrastructure Plan Will Increase Utility Bills in Pennsylvania

(The Center Square) – Americans for Tax Reform said Wednesday that President Joe Biden’s plan to raise corporate taxes to fund a $2 trillion infrastructure package will translate into higher electricity bills for Pennsylvania residents.  John Kartch, vice president of communications for the group, noted that utility companies pay corporate income taxes, and the rates customers pay remain tied …

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Lawsuit Challenging Medicaid Abortion Restrictions in Pennsylvania Dismissed

(The Center Square) – A state judge dismissed a lawsuit on Friday that challenged the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s restrictions on Medicaid coverage for abortions. Commonwealth Court President Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt said the petitioners – including seven reproductive health care centers that provide 95% of abortions across the state – lack standing because she “can ascertain no …

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Pennsylvania lawmaker says no state funding for schools that stick to virtual learning

(The Center Square) — A high-ranking Republican lawmaker in Pennsylvania said Wednesday the state should withhold funding from schools that don’t return to in-person instruction full time. Appropriations Chairman Stan Saylor, R-York, said he will push other House lawmakers to amend the state’s School Code to prevent districts, technical schools, community colleges or universities from accessing $16.6 …

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Emergency Constitutional Amendment For Sexual Abuse Survivors Blocked in Pennsylvania

(The Center Square) – The effort to extend the litigation window for survivors of child sexual abuse suffered a crushing blow this week after lawmakers blocked an emergency constitutional amendment necessary to get the measure on the ballot in May. Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward, R-Greensburg, said Monday her caucus concluded that elevating the amendment …

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Pennsylvania Senate Cautions Smart Use of Federal Education Dollars

(The Center Square) – The American Rescue Plan delivered more than $5 billion in stimulus to Pennsylvania’s 501 school districts, but senators last week urged caution when spending the “windfall.” Acting Secretary of Education Noe Ortega told the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday that some of the money comes with strings attached so that schools …

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Financial, Tax Relief Proposed For Pennsylvania Small Businesses

(The Center Square) – A group of Republican senators said this week the state of Pennsylvania should deliver more financial and tax relief to small businesses struggling amid the pandemic. The Prioritize PA: Small Business Initiative, a package of five bills, does just that, says co-sponsoring Sens. Ryan Aument, R-Lititz; Camera Bartolotta, R-Washington; Judy Ward, R-Hollidaysburg; and …

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Report: Pennsylvania Set For $13 Billion From American Rescue Plan

(The Center Square) – A report from the Tax Foundation concludes that Pennsylvania will receive more than $13 billion in aid from the next federal stimulus package. This equals about 10,000% more than necessary to cover the state’s $67 million revenue loss, according to the foundation’s analysis. Nationally, states lost a combined $1.7 billion, representing less than …

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Report: Pennsylvania set for $13 billion from American Rescue Plan

 By Christen Smith | The Center Square (The Center Square) – A report from the Tax Foundation concludes that Pennsylvania will receive more than $13 billion in aid from the next federal stimulus package. This equals about 10,000% more than necessary to cover the state’s $67 million revenue loss, according to the foundation’s analysis. Nationally, states lost a …

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Pennsylvania Budget Secretary Defends Spending Plan, Minimum Wage Hike

(The Center Square) – Pennsylvania Budget Secretary Jen Swails spent three hours defending Gov. Tom Wolf’s spending plan – a proposal many Republicans criticize as lofty and unrealistic – before the House Appropriations Committee this week. The meeting concluded three weeks of hearings with different state agencies over how Wolf’s $37.8 billion proposal, partly funded …

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Pennsylvania Lost 500,000 Jobs in 2020

(The Center Square) — Pennsylvania lost 500,000 jobs in 2020, the Department of Labor and Industry said, and there’s no understanding of when – or if – those positions will return.  “We don’t know the reason why they were lost or if they are coming back,” acting Secretary of Labor Jennifer Berrier told the House Appropriations Committee …

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Republicans hammer education leaders over proposed charter school cuts in Pennsylvania

By Christen Smith (the Center Square)  (The Center Square) – Republicans in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives pressed the Department of Education on Monday over the governor’s proposed cuts to charter school funding, even as the public districts meant to benefit sit on millions in reserves and federal disaster aid, they said. The questions came …

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Pennsylvania Governor Frames Charter School Reforms as Better for Taxpayers

(The Center Square) – Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said Friday that cutting funding and increasing accountability for underperforming charter schools makes better use of taxpayer dollars than the current system. “If we don’t fix the problems in our charter schools now, we are setting our children up for failure and that’s unacceptable,” Wolf said during a news …

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Bipartisan Cannabis Legalization Bill Emerges In Pennsylvania Senate

(The Center Square) – A bipartisan duo of senators introduced a measure Wednesday to legalize adult use cannabis in Pennsylvania. It’s the first time a Republican member of the chamber has cosponsored the proposal – typically endorsed solely by Democrats, including Gov. Tom Wolf and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman. “That’s kind of the elephant in the room, …

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Bipartisan Cannabis Legalization Bill Emerges in Pennsylvania Senate

By Christen Smith | The Center Square (The Center Square) – A bipartisan duo of senators introduced a measure Wednesday to legalize adult use cannabis in Pennsylvania. It’s the first time a Republican member of the chamber has cosponsored the proposal – typically endorsed solely by Democrats, including Gov. Tom Wolf and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman. “That’s kind …

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PennDOT: Plans to Add Tolls to Nine Bridges ‘Not Definitive’ Yet

(The Center Square) – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said Tuesday specifics about a plan to toll nine bridges across the state remains under development, though drivers may see the fees as soon as 2023. “Nothing is final,” Transportation Secretary Yassmin Gramian said during a House Appropriations Committee budget hearing. “Nothing is definite yet.” The plan – a result of …

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Pennsylvania Gov. Wolf Signs Fourth Emergency Declaration

(The Center Square) – Gov. Tom Wolf signed a 90-day statewide emergency declaration for COVID-19 on Friday, the fourth such order since March 6, 2020. “COVID-19 vaccinations have begun, but we are still in the early stages of vaccine administration,” he said. “We will continue to prioritize a safe, efficient and equitable distribution process, and expect vaccinations …

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Increases to Pennsylvania Corrections Budget Despite Prison Closures, Smaller Population Lead to Lawmaker Questions

(The Center Square) – Pennsylvania lawmakers wanted to know this week how the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Secretary could justify seeking more for its annual budget at a time when overall inmate populations are dropping. Corrections Secretary John Wetzel is asking for a 2.5 percent increase, and during Wednesday’s budget hearing before the House Appropriations …

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IFO: Raising Minimum Wage in Pennsylvania Would Increase Economic Growth, Hike Costs For Employers

(The Center Square) – Pennsylvania’s Independent Fiscal Office said Tuesday that raising the state’s minimum wage would stimulate economic growth, even though it increases costs for employers. “It would overall increase economic growth because it is an income transfer from higher income to lower income individuals,” said Matthew Knittel, executive director of the IFO, the state’s independent fiscal …

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Pennsylvania Health Officials Place New Demands On Vaccine Providers

(The Center Square) – Pennsylvania health officials said Friday vaccine providers must hit new administration benchmarks or risk a cut to their weekly supply. Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam told reporters that providers must administer 80 percent of their supply as first doses to residents covered under vaccination Phase 1A within seven days. The …

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PENNSYLVANIA FORMS LEGISLATIVE COVID-19 TASK FORCE

(The Center Square) – Gov. Tom Wolf said Tuesday his administration will lead a joint legislative COVID-19 task force – including lawmakers from both parties – to improve the state’s vaccine rollout. The decision follows months of complaints from Republican majorities in the House and Senate that center on the administration’s unilateral policymaking on pandemic …

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Shortages, Chaotic Registration Plague Pennsylvania’s Slow Vaccination Rollout

By Christen Smith | The Center Square (The Center Square) – Shortages of COVID-19 vaccine supply and a “chaotic” online registration process undermine Pennsylvania’s immunization efforts, experts said Monday. Health officials testified before the House Democratic Policy Committee that while the state’s current system needs adjusting, complaints will continue until vaccine supply from the federal government …

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Pennsylvania charter schools face cuts in governor’s education-focused spending plan

(The Center Square) – Gov. Tom Wolf’s $37.8 billion spending proposal prioritizes a $2 billion boost in public education funding to tackle crumbling school buildings, stagnating teacher salaries and dwindling achievement among disadvantaged students. But charter schools and the 170,000 students they serve across the state would see their funding cut under the governor’s plan through policies …

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Business-aligned groups pan Pennsylvania’s proposed $3 billion tax hike as more details emerge

(The Center Square) – More details emerged Wednesday about Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposal to hike personal income taxes on the top third of earners, claiming in his annual budget address that the rest would see no increase at all. Wolf said charging “financially secure” residents more to help those with less succeed while directing those …

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Pennsylvania’s School Choice Debate More Fraught than Ever Amid Pandemic

It’s National School Choice week, and public debate about whether lawmakers should prioritize traditional districts or ease limitations on their public and private alternatives seems more fraught than ever. In Pennsylvania, the discourse targets the same players – teachers unions face blame for fighting to keep in-person instruction limited, parents fearful of the virus want …

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Pennsylvania’s health indicators brace for impact from COVID-19

A new report finds residents in Pennsylvania struggle with obesity, suicide and racial disparities in health outcomes, and the pandemic’s impact on all three could make the problems worse. The data comes from the 31st annual America’s Health Rankings analysis, compiled by the United Health Foundation. While the foundation decided against providing an overall ranking …

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Pennsylvania Health Officials Launch Provider Map For COVID-19 Vaccinations

Residents now included in Pennsylvania’s expanded first phase of its COVID-19 immunization plan can find available providers through an interactive map on the Department of Health website. The department said last week it is ready to vaccinate residents age 65 or older and those under 64 with preexisting health conditions – including cancer to heart …

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Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Levine Tapped for Biden Administration

President-elect Joe Biden looked no further than Pennsylvania when selecting his administration’s next assistant secretary of health. He tapped state Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine for the role over the weekend, describing her as a “historic and deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration’s health efforts.” “Dr. Rachel Levine will bring the steady …

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Revised CDC Guidance Shakes up Pennsylvania’s Vaccination Plan

Revised federal guidance that expands the pool of Americans eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine left Pennsylvania health officials scrambling to rethink their statewide immunization plan.  Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said Wednesday that when the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said residents age 65 or older or with preexisting health conditions …

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Federal Judge Validates Pennsylvania Senator Jim Brewster’s Election Victory

By Christen Smith (The Center Square) – A federal judge ruled Tuesday that a Pennsylvania state senator won reelection on Nov. 3, tossing out a last-minute challenge from his opponent that delayed his seating in the chamber last week. Sen. Jim Brewster, D-Monroeville, defeated Republican challenger Nicole Ziccarelli in the state’s 45th district by just …

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State Encourages Schools to Resume In-Person Learning after Jan 25

State officials encouraged districts across Pennsylvania to resume in-person learning for elementary students on Jan. 25 as they see fit.  “This is not mandatory,” Acting Education Secretary Noe Ortega said Thursday. “It’s up to school leaders whether or not local factors permit kids to return to in-person instruction.” The guidance comes after many schools transitioned …

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Pennsylvania Senate Delays Seating Member Over Last Minute Election Challenge

By Christen Smith (The Center Square) – Pennsylvania state Sen. Jim Brewster, D-Monroeville, who won reelection in November by just 69 votes, won’t be sworn in with the rest of his colleagues Tuesday after his November opponent filed a last-minute challenge against the certified results. Republican challenger Nicole Ziccarelli petitioned Senate President Pro Tempore Jake …

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Department of Health says Pennsylvania COVID-19 Cases Waning After Latest Restrictions

By Christen Smith | The Center Square The latest round of COVID-19 restrictions helped slow Pennsylvania’s skyrocketing infection rate, health officials said Monday, though residents must “stay the course” to see rules relaxed in the coming year. “It’s critically important to continue our mitigation efforts and really not to get together in gatherings on New …

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